I want to preface the words that follow, to say there is a righteous judgment we can have, where we call sin what it is, and we can separate right from wrong. To have righteous judgment, there must be righteous motives. The goal for judgment reveals the intention. As the church, we should be the ambassadors of God’s grace and mercy and not the self-elected judges of the law.
The words of the devil always condemn, whereas the words of the Lord will convict. One is meant to destroy you, the other to change you.
There exists too much unrighteous judgment in our churches today. Many Christians love to judge people who sin differently than themselves. Some Christians love to judge others down that they themselves might appear a little bit higher.
Pride reveals pride, and sin reveals sin. The thing we see so wrong in another is often the very thing that is in us. “…When you judge others, you condemn yourselves, because you are guilty of doing the very same things” (Romans 2:1 CEV).
We will be judged by how we treat others, not how they treat us. “There is only one true Lawgiver and Judge, the One who has the power to save and destroy—so who do you think you are to judge your neighbor?” (James 4:12 TPT).
What you do determines what God does. He is merciful to the merciful. He is forgiving to the forgiving. He judges you with your own judgment. You drink the cup you pour for yourself. “Don’t judge others, and God will not judge you. If you judge others, you will be judged the same way you judge them. God will treat you the same way you treat others.” (Matthew 7:1-2 ERV).
Early on in my faith, my heart was saved by Christ, but I had not yet been delivered from all my sin. I had an addiction to smoking and thought the only way I might overcome it was to be taken out of this world. It is an incredibly addictive substance. As a young Christian, I was horrified that I might be found out as it seems many in the church treat this addiction as if it were an unpardonable sin. Yet these same people live unhealthy lives in a hundred other ways.
Let us desire to be as merciful to others as we would hope for God to be merciful towards us. King David said, “With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful…” (2 Samuel 22:26 NKJV).
The reason we focus so much on other people’s sins is so we don’t have to dwell upon our own.
The heart you have towards others is the same heart that will judge you. The Lord Jesus taught, “God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy” (Matthew 5:7 NLT).
I will never forget one night at my church when a pastor and a teacher figured out I was a smoker. They were at the other side of the classroom, and they were talking about me in a whisper and then looking over at me. There is nothing worse in life than having people look down at you as if you were something less than them. All I felt was shame.
Do not worry what others say about you, but what you say about them. “For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy.” (James 2:13 NKJV).
The mercy you show is the mercy you will receive. “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:37 NKJV).
Judging others is like spitting in the wind, whatever you spit out comes right back on you. “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven.” (Luke 6:37 NLT).
One time I was listening to a message by a theologian I greatly admired named R.C. Sproul. He spoke about how he too, early on in his faith journey, had been addicted to smoking. He spoke of how so many condemned him and the shame he had. I could hardly believe my ears. I am so glad for people like R.C. Sproul, who humbly recount their own struggles in the faith. Christian, we all have struggles.
Stop confessing the sins of others, and just confess your own. “And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God?” (Romans 2:3 NKJV).
Your criticism of others reveals more about you than them. “You have no right to criticize your brother or look down on him. Remember, each of us will stand personally before the Judgment Seat of God” (Romans 14:10 TLB).
Never fear that men would judge you wrongly, but that God will judge you rightly. “Therefore, each one must answer for himself and give a personal account of his own life before God” (Romans 14:12 TPT).
I eventually got delivered from smoking. But I will never forget the shaming and judgment from so many Christians, including many leaders. This shaming is one of the greatest sins that permeates our churches today. This shame-based Christianity is a condemnation of sinners. Instead, we should be loving them as they are and helping them to be all that God desires for them to become.
Go ahead and point your finger, but do so at that wretched man or woman who looks back at you from the mirror each morning. “Do not enter into judgment with Your servant, for in Your sight no one living is righteous” (Psalm 143:2 NKJV).
Live your life with others such that you do not judge them for where they are wrong, but pray for them that God would make them right.
Child of God, in whatever sin you are still carrying, know this, God loves you. Get near to Him and He will help you to overcome. Don’t be ashamed, but be encouraged, because the grace of God is greater than the failures of man.
Blessings to you,
11 thoughts on “Judging Others”
My experience with smoking was a significant one for me. In 1973-1974 there was a revival in Lloydminster (Canada) I was brought into it about 2/3 of the way. Early one morning Jesus walked into my room and I was instantly transformed. Up to that time I was a hopeless alcoholic, drug addict and drug pusher utterly helpless and hopeless. In His presence I was instantly delivered from alcohol, drugs and swearing with no lingering desires for any of them. Cigarettes was another matter and as time went on I tried quitting multiple times with no success. During this time we met every night as God was moving in power and great freedom. One night after a meeting I was headed outside to have another cigarette when one of the brothers put a chair in the middle of the room and beckoned me to sit there. I sat down on the chair and they all started in on me about my smoking and I started to defend my self and the discussion was getting very heated (as I still had severe issues with my temper as did some of them!), during this heated discussion I suddenly realized that these people actually loved me and that they were willing to risk their relationship with me in order to see me set free. The minute I realized what was happening I was set free and never had another one. It made me realize the power of fellowship and the true love of God and that we are our brother’s keeper. It is a lesson that I have carried in my heart for over 40 years. True love speaks, encourages, exhorts and rebukes. Religion condemns, truth convicts. The true fellowship of the saints of God produces overcoming lives and seeks to bring everyone of His people into the victory in Christ.
Love you as a brother in the truth of Christ.
Oh, wow, Brian, this is an amazing testimony! What an incredible encounter with the Lord Jesus. It reminds me that the programs of man can do little across many years of effort, but one moment in front of the Lord Jesus can turn our whole lives upside down. And what a turning upside down He did with you! I am so glad to know this testimony of yours, as it is the testimony that proclaims the power of Christ and His ability to change and empower whoever is willing to surrender to Him. And what a joy for you to have these friends who dared to confront you, with good motives, and in love, that they would risk what was smaller to gain what was bigger. We would all be so blessed to have friends such as these.
Love you my brother, I am so blessed that I know you and am lifted by all that you post.
Excellent teaching of giving the sense of the Word on judgment, Paul.
In a love your neighbor as yourself mode, I would just reason that putting away the pointing of the finger must be complete.
“I do not even judge myself” is our pivotal filter for speaking the truth in Love to everyone & not allowing any reviling of doublemindedness to taint greater grace. Going to God instead we will always have mercy if we seek it to share it. Results are His & theirs.
I’ve been working on overcoming that inner critic as well as reducing intensity of all admonishing. It has been making more regular the quickening of the Holy Spirit, ever since I asked for help with it.
If we agree with others’ judgments at any age, we can end up carrying those kinds of responses in an automatic way for hours, days & years without realising a need for transformed thinking toward ourselves that gets applied everywhere with much confusion.
I’m learning how to avoid quenching the receiving and the giving of love, by whatever is opposing the fruit of gentleness, & kindness that leads to repentance. Practicing what we preach for this is a two sided currency, as I like to say for all things pertaining to grace, versus balance.
Enjoyed more of your testimony too. Thanks!
Thank you so much Tanis. And I think you are most right, in that we should watch that we do not judge ourselves too harshly, but instead seek the Lord and let Him mold us into what He would have us become.
I am often so self-critical. Much of this is born out of a spirit of rejection and inferiority that rests on me. So I have to be doubly careful to not allow the devil to use by self-critical nature to prevent me from doing what God would have me do.
Blessings to you in your journey!
To God be the glory! Everyone needs to read this. I outlined my Bible with these verses so I can restudy and share the scriptures with others. God bless you and thank you for sharing!
Thank you so much Connie! As I was putting this together it started to pour into me how much God desires us to be merciful and gracious to those around us. I want so much to be this kind of person.
Paul this has been like a medicine to my soul , am a minister in church am involved in sweeping, arranging seats, putting up machines and other activities within the church but my heart is getting broken every time i go to church , the pastor will always in his preachings criticize people he before the end of the preaching at least will have criticized like 5 people i really feel like leaving the church but i wanted so much to serve because this is where i see God has given me the opportunity to serve Him. many people have left the church so what can i do Paul?. thanks
Prayers for you, that the Lord would lead you on how you can be His vessel for this church He has you in. One great thing that you can do is to contend for your pastor in prayer. You may not be able to change your pastor, but you can pray the the Lord who can. You might seek to speak with your pastor or an elder, to share what you are feeling, but only do so in humility and with much prayer beforehand. And in everything you do, and especially with where God would have you serve, seek His leading and wait until He shows you.
So good Paul! We should all strive to be doers of the Word and always pray for others. 💛
“Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults—unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.
Matthew 7:1-5 MSG
Thank you Anna! And you have such a good word, for us to live the Word. How much we need to stay in prayer that the Lord would help us in how we live. I really liked this translation from The Message! I have some who are very angry that I use some translations, but I find having other versions helps me to see the Word in ways I might not otherwise be able to grasp it. Blessings to you!
You’re most welcome Paul! I too use others versions for the same reason, That’s what those translations are there for, to help us grasp what the Word of God is saying, I’m not sure why others would be angry? It’s the Word of God regardless.